Superstition takes a huge part of sports and this is something that has always been extremely linked with the perception of performance, and it involves such different tiny rituals that may appear to be something to relax and entertain the audience, but actually are quite important to ease the athlete’s mind.
Rituals can be as simple as bouncing the ball 5 times before taking a free throw or as complicated as running around the stadium backward 2 hours before the game, thing is that no matter how complicated the ritual may be, the players just won’t feel like themselves if they don’t go through that routine.
Of course, the ritual per se doesn’t have an impact in the game and it’s pretty likely that with or without it, things would go down exactly the same way as if they’ve done it, but it help the players reach that focus level needed to thrive in the National Basketball Association.
More than that, these pregame rituals actually remind us that the greatest athletes in the world are also human and even if it may seem extremely crazy, they just wouldn’t be the same without them. Today, we’ll let you know about the top 10 craziest pregame rituals in the NBA.
10. Jason Terry’s Opponent Shorts
While some fans and players would think that wearing the opponent’s apparel may be extremely disrespectful and just shouldn’t be allowed, Jason Terry actually craves to do so, not being able to play if he doesn’t sleep in the rival’s shorts.
Besides, not only he needs them to be an opponent’s team shorts, but he demands that the shorts are authentic. A Championship ring later, you may say this work, talking about getting into the rival’s mind.
9. The Chalk Toss
Before LeBron James and even Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan started this chalk tossing tendency before the start of the games, but of course, all of them have put their personal signature in this flashy ritual.
For instance, Garnett’s chalk toss was just one of a very complicated pregame ritual, while LeBron James has acknowledged the fact that he does it for the entertainment of the fans rather than a superstitious ritual.
8. Jason Kidd’s Blown Kiss
Jason Kidd found a lot of success throughout his NBA career, but his personal life wasn’t really a fairy tale at the very same time he was thriving as one of the league’s leading point guards, especially when it came to his relationship with his former wife, Joumana.
Nevertheless, when things were going Jason’s way, he always blows a kiss to his wife before every single free throw, that’s of course until their dramatic divorce, when he started to wipe his ass or mouth before blowing the kiss. C’mon, man!
7. Caron Butler’s Straw Chewing
Caron Butler was never an easy guy to deal with, and that may have to do something with the fact that he always had a sugar and caffeine rush after chugging liters of Mountain Dew before the start of the games until the Wizards managed to ban him from doing so.
Nonetheless, they couldn’t stop him from chewing drinking straws before the game and during every timeout, as he found that relaxing and better than gum. Eventually, the league actually had to step up and forbid this quirk.
6. Mike Bibby’s Nail Clipping
Bibby couldn’t play if he didn’t pick his nails before and during games until he found that clipping them was even better for whatever reason he actually wanted to do so on a nightly basis and even during timeouts.
So, everytime the game stopped, one of the assistants would have to go and give him a clipper while he heard the coach, or unless he just wouldn’t be able to focus and play at his highest level. Well, at least personal hygiene wasn’t an issue with him apparently.
5. Kissing The Backboard
Even though Dwyane Wade is credited with this move, it was actually Vince Carter the first guy to make this popular throughout the NBA, grabbing onto the rim and kissing the backboard in honor his grandmother.
Wade, on the other hand, adds three pull-ups while grabbing the rim, because he wears number 3. So, would he do 9 pull-ups now that he has to wear number 9 with the Cleveland Cavaliers? Better not, flash, you could get injured.
4. Headbutting The Stanchion
Kevin Garnett was always one of the most heartfelt and passionate guys you could find on an NBA hardwood, and he wasn’t shy to show it before any game with a fierce set of headbutts to the stanchion underneath the backboard.
Garnett’s presence was always extremely intimidating and being as strong and big as he was, nobody could even get close to him when he was trying to get in his pregame zone, so you know, better the stanchion than you.
3. Let It All Out, Bill
Considering the fact that Bill Russell is the biggest winner in NBA history with 11 rings under his belt, it would be crazy to think that he was actually extremely nervous before every performance, even though his Boston Celtics had absolutely no competition whatsoever.
So, Bill Russell got really sick on his stomach before every game or even during halftime, throwing up all over the place, and crazy as it seemed, his teammates actually craved this move, as it meant he was ready to go play some ball.
2. Shaq’s Bowling
Shaquille O’Neal has always been a huge entertainer, and during his Phoenix Suns stint, he developed a pregame ritual that made fans get a laugh or two, pretending his teammates were bowling pins that he had to knock down before tipoff.
During warm-ups, Shaq would ask his teammates to align as bowling pins before pretending to make a strike. Of course, the last guy standing had to put on a show also, balancing for a little while before also falling down to the floor. Classic Shaq.
1. MJ’s Shorts
Michael Jordan was always a trendsetter and one of the trends he started when he became the most popular man in the world was to wear baggy shorts, but people didn’t know that behind this fashion statement was a huge superstition: he had to wear his North Carolina Tar Heels shorts beneath his Bulls shorts.
Jordan has always been much of a gambler and when you like to gamble, you have to be superstitious. Of course, with 6 NBA Championships under his belt and all the accolades he achieved, who could argue with him?